We’re furious after our land was put up to be a traveller site – council didn’t tell us…it will ruin our lives | The Sun

A COUPLE fear their lives will be ruined by plans for their farmland to be converted into a caravan site for travellers.

Farmer Denis Waters, 30, and wife Shauna, 26, rent three fields for their 26 cows and bull in Magor, Monmouthshire.

But their home is now under threat after discovering, via Facebook, that the land is being considered as a site for 13 permanent traveller pitches.

The couple would have to sell their cattle if the Monmouthshire County Council-led plans go ahead.

Shauna said: “We only found out a few days before there was a council meeting, we didn’t find out from the council.

"We were told by a friend who had seen it on Facebook and said: 'You need to have a look at this.' It has been really stressful with all the not knowing what will happen."

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The husband and wife, who have an 11-month-old daughter Winnie, have rented just over five acres from the council for the past two years.

They also farm on land around Chepstow which is owned in partnership with Denis’ family.

But the couple say they could no longer keep cattle if the council decides to end the tenancy instead of renewing it.

Shauna added: "We wouldn’t have anywhere to put them as we need a designated field for the cows over the winter."

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The couple supply a major supermarket and have some 400 sheep which they take to market.

Denis said: "If we sold the cattle we would still have the sheep but one of us would probably have to get another job."

They fear daughter Winnie will will not have the opportunity of following her parents, grandparents and great grandparents into farming.

Shauna said: "If we can’t continue she won’t have the option as farming is not easy and farms are very hard to get.

"This is about her future more than us."

The council has assessed a need for 13 permanent Gypsy Traveller pitches and in July published a shortlist of five sites that could be suitable.

It has since ruled out three, but is currently considering whether it should hold a consultation over the remaining two sites.

Magor independent councillor Frances Taylor told a council scrutiny committee the couple had not been directly informed the land was being considered.

Cllr Sara Burch, the Labour cabinet member responsible for housing, said: "I would like to express my apologies to tenants if the first they were informed is when the proposals were in the public domain.

"We should have anticipated when the report went out it would be news in the communities and we should have written to them."

A decision is set to be made on the future of the site.

A Monmouthshire County Council spokesperson said: "A decision was due to be taken by our cabinet on July 26 to commence consultation on potential sites for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation. 

"However, in response to concerns raised, that consultation has been deferred to allow more time for consideration of options for potential sites.  No sites have been confirmed for consultation at this stage.

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"We have a duty to provide a small number of pitches for local people as part of our commitment to providing affordable housing in Monmouthshire.

"We are committed to providing small sites where members of the Gypsy and Traveller community can settle, work, and send their children to school."

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